Over the weekend, the Biden administration negotiated the purchase of the assets of First Republic Bank—America’s second largest bank failure—by too-big-to-fail bank, JPMorgan Chase. The process will make JPMorgan even bigger. Is that wise? In The Wall Street Journal, Rachel Louise Ensign and Ben Eisen report on the firesale of First Republic, writing:
Regulators seized First Republic Bank and struck a deal to sell the bulk of its operations to JPMorgan Chase & Co., heading off a chaotic collapse that threatened to reignite the recent banking crisis.
JPMorgan said it will assume all of First Republic’s $92 billion in deposits—insured and uninsured. It is also buying most of the bank’s assets, including about $173 billion in loans and $30 billion in securities.
As part of the agreement, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will share losses with JPMorgan on First Republic’s loans. The agency estimated that its insurance fund would take a hit of $13 billion in the deal. JPMorgan also said it would receive $50 billion in financing from the FDIC.
San Francisco-based First Republic, the second-largest bank to fail in U.S. history, lost $100 billion in deposits in a March run following the collapse of fellow Bay Area lender Silicon Valley Bank. It limped along for weeks after a group of America’s biggest banks came to its rescue with a $30 billion deposit. Those deposits will be repaid after the deal closes, JPMorgan said.
Three of the four largest-ever U.S. bank failures have occurred in the past two months. First Republic, with some $233 billion in assets at the end of the first quarter, ranks just behind the 2008 collapse of Washington Mutual Inc. Rounding out the top four are Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, a New York-based lender that also failed in March.
The deal means JPMorgan, the largest bank in the U.S., is poised to emerge from the current crisis even bigger. The lender has said it got about $50 billion in new deposits from panicky customers looking to move their money to a too-big-to-fail bank following March’s failures. JPMorgan had $2.4 trillion in deposits at the end of the first quarter.
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